The Federal Election Commission (FEC) voted yesterday to allow candidates running for office to be paid a salary from campaign funds while campaigning. A prior FEC regulation prohibited the use of campaign funds to pay candidates’ salaries during the campaign.
Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal hailed the change as an enormous advancement for women in politics. “The change in FEC regulations means that women will be much more able to run for public office,” Smeal explained. The prior prohibition meant that only those who were independently wealthy and could afford not to receive a salary while campaigning could run. “Now,” Smeal said, “teachers, nurses, and civil servants will be able to run for office without having to forgo the money that they or their family need. Our ability to recruit women candidates has just increased tremendously.”
The new FEC rule caps the salary a candidate can receive at either the salary the candidate received in the year prior to running or the salary of the office for which the candidate is running, whichever is lower. Income earned by the candidate from other sources is counted as salary and is deducted from the maximum allowed under the regulation.